The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday authorized a expiration date extension of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine, the company said in a statement, expanding the six week shelf life shortly before millions of doses were set to possibly go to waste.
“The decision is based on data from ongoing stability evaluation studies, which have shown that the vaccine is stable for 4.5 months when refrigerated at 3 and 8 degrees Celsius,” he said. Johnson & Johnson in a statement.
Johnson & Johnson vaccines refrigerated at the Forem vaccination center in Pamplona, Spain. Photo REUTERS / Vincent West / File Photo
The measure gives states extra time to figure out how to use the single-dose vaccine supply, even as local officials have struggled to use up stock of the injection, which lately has faced the fall in demand.
Since it was cleared by the FDA in late February, it has been a critical resource in reaching the most isolated communities and people who prefer to receive a single injection.
But the vaccine took a major hit in April, when the FDA and CDC recommended a hiatus in its use after a rare blood clotting disorder in vaccine recipients.
State officials have said that decision significantly reduced interest in the vaccine, and approximately 10 million doses delivered to states remain unused, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The rhythm Vaccination rates have declined in recent weeks for all three federally licensed vaccines, and the Biden administration has shifted its strategy from relying on mass vaccination centers to highlighting more specific approaches, some with incentives.
Dr. Marcus Plescia, who represents state health agencies as chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said last week that he believed all states were facing imminent expiration dates for the vaccine, thus which prompted local officials to seek ways to deplete even their limited supply.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday pleaded with his state healthcare providers to use about 200,000 doses of the vaccine, which he said expired on June 23.
The state health department directed providers to adopt a “first in, first out” process to ensure that doses with earlier expiration dates were used first.
Officials across the south, where vaccination rates have lagged, have also beenor looking for ways to use tens of thousands of doses in your possession.
In Arkansas, authorities hope to use whatever they can at pop-up weekend clinics, including Emancipation Day June 19, said Dr. Jose Romero, Arkansas’s secretary of health.
West Virginia coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh said Thursday that the state had an ample supply of all three vaccines, giving residents plenty of choice between vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
. However, he said the extension could breathe some life into his state’s efforts to keep reaching vulnerable people: the disabled, homeless or homeless, and those with some form of social instability.
He added that the vaccine remained attractive to people who were wary of two doses of a vaccine, and that West Virginia intended to offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at summer fairs and festivals and in parks.
About 25,000 doses were to expire this month, He said.
“The J&J vaccine in those settings is, in my opinion, highly preferable,” he said.
Marsh said he was still cautious about overdosing, even with an extended shelf life, and that the state was talking to the federal government about getting them delivered on time.
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